Study Finds Most Homeless Women Suffer Violence


A study of homeless and unstably housed women in San Francisco found nearly two out of three have been the victims of emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

Researchers for the study, which is published last week in the American Journal of Public Health, surveyed 291 women who sleep in public places, shelters or who are displaced often.

Violence screenings conducted by health care and social service agencies typically focus on domestic partners, but researchers wrote that this approach is faulty.

“All types of violence were more commonly perpetrated by non–primary partners, suggesting that an exclusive focus on domestic violence screening in health care or social service settings will miss most of the violence in this population,” researchers wrote.

More than one-third reported suffering recent physical violence, another third reported recent sexual violence, and nearly two-thirds had received emotional violence, such as aggressive threats.

More than half of respondents had suffered multiple types of violence, the study found.

The study also noted that more than half of women who are infected with HIV, or at high-risk for HIV, had recently suffered violence.

The full study is available for purchase HERE.

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